Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cameroon:New Southwest ELECAM Boss Tasked to Boost Voter Registration.

  By Smart Njikang Gabriel*
 Barrister Okha Bau Okha, new Southwest Regional Delegate of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), appointed on July 9,2014, was  last Wednesday August 5 - slightly one year after, at Mountain Hotel Buea, commissioned into his  new functions, by no other than the newly appointed Director-General(DG)of Elections Cameroon, Mr. Abdoulaye Babalé.
DG, Abdoulaye Babalé(in white) instructs  Barrister Okha
      Power tussle and personality conflict between Dr.Samuel Fonkam Azu’u, ELECAM BOARD Chairman and Mohaman Sani Tanimou, former Director –General of ELECAM, were blamed for the late commissioning of Barrister Bau Okha by Sani Tanimou’s successor, Mr. Abdoulaye Babalé, who is a former cabinet minister.
       The Director-General, in his installation speech, last Wednesday, tasked Barrister Bau Okha to ensure a significant increase in the number of registered voters in region before the end of the current voter’s registration period.
      “Put in every effort to ensure that the number of registered voters in the South West Region increases before the end of the voter registration period on 31 August 2015.... I enjoin you to do every thing in your power to strengthen the confidence Cameroonians have begun to have in Elections Cameroon and in its management of the electoral process”, the DG instructed.
      According to Mr.Abdoulaye Babalé, the new regional ELECAM boss can only succeed provided that he builds a strong and faithful team of collaborators.
Mr. Babalé advised the new Southwest boss to assume a true leadership role that would enable him earn and deserve confidence and trust of personnel under his control.
Barrister Bau Okha was also urged to ensure discipline among his staff, give them the necessary protection and assistance.
The regional ELECAM delegate was also told to be fair and equitable in his management of financial and material resources allotted to the region for running cost and operational expenses.
     The functions of the regional ELECAM boss include but are not limited to: the organization, supervision and follow-up of electoral operations,  follow-up of voter registration and  establishment of voter cards, supervision of the distribution of voter cards, distribution of  election materials within the region,  centralization and forwarding of election results to the Directorate-General of Elections in Yaounde , the maintenance of IT equipment, the preparation of the operating budget of the regional delegation, the management of regional personnel and the management of the operating budget of the Delegation.

Barrister Bau Okha and   Director-General Abdoulaye Babalé,in family picture after former's installation
     After his installation, the Southwest Regional ELECAM Delegate reportedly told reporters:
“So far, we have registered well over 12,398 voters and I promise to do my best to increase that number before the deadline runs out. I think we have improved this year because last year, by the time the exercise ended, the region had registered just a little over 7,000 voters...”
      Barrister Bau Okha, was born on December 21, 1961 in Kumba, he studied Law at the University of Yaoundé, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Law in 1985. He went on to study Law at postgraduate level at the Nigerian Law School in Lagos and the Indiana University School of Law, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Law in 2004. Before he joined ELECAM, Barrister Bau Okha was a member of the Bar Associations of both Nigeria and Cameroon. He was a practicing lawyer from 1998 to 2010.
      Before his appointment as the Regional Delegate, Barrister Bau Okha was the Service Head in charge of Electoral Operations at the Southwest Delegation of ELECAM. The ceremony was witnessed by a host of dignitaries who included the Secretary -General at Buea Governor’s Office, Mr. Clement Fon Ndikum; Professor Dorothy Limunga Njeuma and Mr. Tambe Tiku, both members of ELECAM’s Board of Directors, and also Professor Nalova Lyonga, Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea.
Barrister Bau Okha took over Emmanuel Njang Mbeng,now on retirement. 
 *Smart Njikang Gabriel is a University of Buea Journalism student

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